2015 Community Insight

Community insight logo final

During the Autumn 2015 a community survey was distributed throughout Devon through a range of community organisations as well as online. The results of the survey (2015 Community Insight) are now available.

Accessibility statement: All the PDF Theme and Headline reports below have been checked for accessibility, all graphs and tables contain alternative text which should work with screen readers. For readily available Alternative Formats including large print, plain text and easy read please visit the Alternative Formats Section. If you require further assistance in accessing the information please contact us.



Executive Summary – 2015 Community Insight

2016 #WeAreDevon and 2015 Community Insight: Community Surveys Infographics

Headline Report – Performance and Satisfaction

Headline Report – Equality

Theme reports:

All Themes – Feedback from people with learning disabilities

Living Options Devon – workshops with people with physical and sensory disabilities

Follow up consultation with young people via Young Devon

Data and comments (full set):

Background data: All comments

Background data: All counts

Equality dataMap of Devon with icons reflecting the different core services provided by Devon County Council

Notes: Resilient, Connected, Healthy, Prosperous and Safe are themes in Better Together, the Council’s Strategic Vision for 2020 and beyond).
They also overlap with ‘Purposeful Systems’ outcomes, a programme of work that parts of the Council are involved in to improve systems and customer ‘journeys’ and create better joined up working, to: Help create a Devon where I can live my life well, become and remain independent, get the best start in life, stay healthy, learn, prosper, keep safe, get from A to B, keep my environment safe and looking good, and see that good decisions are being made.

Other Surveys by the County Council

The #WeAreDevon Community Survey was conducted during June and July 2016 to ask about people’s general perceptions on various aspects of life in Devon such as the health and resilience of local communities. The survey was designed to complement and build on other community consultations such as Tough Choices (2010 – 2015 Budget Priorities) and this survey. Used together, we are able to cross-reference what people are telling us: identify trends, common themes and priorities, and understand inequalities and any differences between perceptions and realities for some.

See how we are responding to all the information we have gathered on our Communities webpage.

About this survey

The 2015  survey provided an opportunity for residents in the Devon County Council area to tell us about their lived experiences and where they felt we should prioritise our resources.  The feedback provides a valuable evidence base to inform current performance and community impacts, future strategy and service delivery, and carry out further community engagement where needed.  The aims were to:

  • Understand levels of health and wellbeing, community resilience and participation (including preventing ill health and dependence on public service).
  • Identify inequalities and challenges.
  • Understand satisfaction with the quality of services.
  • Inform our budget priorities.
  • Update findings from the 2010 Community Needs Survey to measure performance.

The survey was open to all but also targeted at specific groups who are generally more reliant on public services or feel they struggle to get their voices heard, such as disabled people. In addition to social media and online campaigns, we enlisted the support of the voluntary/community sector to reach out to diverse groups of people, including those who are housebound or without internet access. Hard copies were provided to organisations including Libraries. Support included telephone surveys for Blind people, Sign Language support for Deaf people, workshops and supported completion for ethnic minority elders, carers and people with physical, sensory and learning disabilities, youth service sessions using iPads, as well as readily available large print and easy read versions.

The survey was developed in consultation with the Council’s Equality Reference Group who are a group of external stakeholders and ‘critical friends’ from the voluntary and community sector, championing equality and representing Devon’s diverse communities.

1,332  people participated.

78 people with learning disabilities participated in workshops across Devon (age range 24 to 68).

1,254 people completed online or hard copy questionnaires:

  • 59% were 65 years of age or over, 38% were between 25 and 64 years old, and 2% were under 25’s.
  • 62% were women. 0.3% identified as Transgender/formerly Transgender.
  • 39% had a disability. 8% said their physical health was bad, 4% said their mental health was bad.
  • 19% were carers (a volunteer or family carer)
  • 7% were Black and Minority Ethnic people.
  • 3% said English was not their first language.
  • Responses were received from people from all major religions, broadly in line with the population of Devon.
  • 9% were lesbian, gay or bisexual.
  • There was a fairly even split between town/city, rural and edge of town responses and representation across all districts, broadly in line with the Devon population.

The following groups were over-represented in the survey compared with the population of Devon (Census 2011):

  • Older people (65+ by 35%)
  • Disabled people (by 19%)
  • Women (by 11%)
  • Carers (by 8%)
  • Black and minority ethnic people (by about 2%).

With the exception of young people, this is positive because many people from these groups feel excluded from decision making processes and positions of power/authority. Because young people were significantly under-represented in the results, follow up work via Young Devon was carried out to ensure we heard the voices of young people.

The following groups were broadly representative in the survey:

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people
  • All main religions and beliefs, including non-believers
  • Districts and rural/urban splits


The survey covered the following topic areas which are either County Council responsibilities or impact on how we deliver services and work with partner agencies:

  • Involvement and influence (consultation and engagement)
  • Being informed (access to information)
  • Access to and satisfaction with services (adult education, recycling/waste and social care)
  • Getting around (public transport, roads and paths)
  • Computer and smartphone use
  • Social contact, jobs and living independently
  • Community involvement and capacity (volunteering, local action and helping others)
  • Feeling safe and respected (in the community and in the care of others)
  • Budget and service priorities, and impacts of budget cuts.

The survey set the scene by providing people with an outline of the range of services Devon County Council provides. It then provided an opportunity to agree or disagree with a series of statements including an opportunity to comment on each of the main sections.

The questions were based around Better Together – the County Council’s strategic vision for 2020 and beyond, and Fair for All – the Council’s equality strategy. Better Together reflects the changing expectations of Devon’s citizens and communities: people want personalised services that provide flexibility and choice, communities expect services that are tailored to meet local needs, and above all people want to be in control of their own future.

Government funding for many familiar local services has also been severely reduced. Through our budget consultations, we have listened to what people want and carefully balanced our response, maintaining personalised services and targeted support. Protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse was voted top priority in the 2010 public consultation Tough Choices.

As a result of budget pressures, we are no longer providing the many facilities and services that people have valued, so our role now is to create the right environment for communities, and voluntary and private enterprises to innovate and thrive, intervening directly only where necessary. We also need to reduce people’s dependence upon public services by enabling them to be more healthy and resilient, with communities doing things for themselves where they can, so we focus on those in greatest need.

Whilst the County Council has been consulting communities on cuts to services each year, the last time communities were asked about levels of satisfaction, safety and wellbeing in general was the Place Survey 2008 and a Community Needs Survey in 2010; the results of the Community Needs Survey 2010 (Hear Me Too) has provided us with a baseline.

The results, 2015 Community Insight, have given us fresh and deep insight into communities’ needs, priorities and capacity.

Understanding community resilience, inequalities and capacity

Under Better Together, we set out our commitments through a series of ‘we will’ statements and in turn asked communities to consider how they could help achieve these outcomes through a series of ‘can you’ statements (as illustrated here under the Resilient theme).

These ‘can you’ statements were used as a basis for many questions in the survey.

Measuring Inequalities and listening to Devon’s diverse communities

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from unlawful discrimination in the provision of services and public functions, employment, premises, education and associations.  Some people are more likely than others to experience discrimination and problems accessing services and information.

Under the Equality Act 2010, the County Council is also bound by a Public Sector Equality Duty to ‘give due regard to the need to’, in relation to nine ‘protected characteristics’:

  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
  • Advance equality of opportunity (remove or minimise disadvantage; meet people’s needs; take account of disabilities; encourage participation in public life).
  • Foster good relations between people (tackle prejudice and promote understanding).

We must also publish objectives and information demonstrating how we will meet the above duties.

The ‘protected characteristics’ are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership (in relation to employment only), pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.

Diversity profiles were gathered at the end of the survey in order to compare results and understand inequalities and whether particular groups are experiencing barriers.  This comprised of 17 questions about things like age, disability, ethnicity, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation and access to a car. From this, we were able to cross reference things like people’s perception of access to information and their access to a computer by things like how old they are and whether they have a disability. This will help us prioritise and target resources more effectively to those with greatest need.  The surveys were anonymous and no-one was asked to provide a name or address.

We have taken a more outcomes based approach to measuring our performance on equality. Sources of data such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Public Health Outcomes reports provide us with useful performance information and the 2015 survey has helped us reach representative and marginalised communities across Devon to measure inequalities.

Further Information about the 2015 survey

3,320 people were approached directly with hard copies or support and 630 were available in Libraries (3,950 in total).  1,254 people responded, of which 580 were returned by post, giving a response rate of 17% for those returned by post, and 32% for all responses (returned by post, returned in bulk by services/library and completed online). In addition, 78  people with learning disabilities participated in workshops across Devon.


Thanks to everyone who participated and helped raise awareness of the survey (including the many individuals and organisations who helped through Twitter or by posting on their websites).  Special thanks to:

Age UK Exeter, Be Involved Devon, Devon Carers, Devon Faith and Belief Forum, Devon Grapevine, Devon Libraries, Devon LinkUp, Devon Senior Voice, Devon Youth Service, the Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Service, Healthwatch Devon, Hikmat Devon, Intercom Trust, Living Options Devon, Plymouth and Devon Racial Equality Council and those individuals who requested a batch of copies to distribute to their local clubs or groups.


Description Cost
Focus groups and one to one support with disabled people and carers £4,456
Interpreted support for ethnic minority elders £140
Postage to homes via Devon Senior Voice distribution list £1,320
Postage to homes via Living Options Devon distribution list £424.70
Printing – questionnaires £555
Printing – envelopes £169
Freepost reply (postage) £290 (580 x 50p)
 Total £7,354.70 (equivalent to £5.52 per respondent, 0.0016p per capita and 0.004% of the Council’s budget)

Design (including Easy Read and Large Print), data entry (hard copies), analysis and reporting was all carried out in-house by existing staff.